Oregon has experienced a significant drop in juvenile crime since the 1990’s. In 1995, there were 10,400 felony arrests of juveniles, but in 2011, that number had dropped to 3,600. This 65 percent drop in felony arrests was accompanied by a 49 percent drop in misdemeanor arrests. This has resulted in less casework burdens for juvenile probation officers while allowing more access to community resources.
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Juvenile probation officers or juvenile counselors are employed through county juvenile probation departments, but the state’s Oregon Youth Authority employs some officers to manage offenders who require more intensive supervision, a wider range of supervision options, or modified residential placement. OYA offers probation services in all of Oregon’s 36 counties throughout 11 service areas. OYA operates in conjunction with private organizations, county juvenile departments, and schools. Probationers may remain under supervision for five years or up to the age of 25.
Oregon’s Juvenile Probation Programs
State juvenile probation officers may employ one or more of the following programs.
- Sex Offender Transition—Risk assessment, treatment and social support systems are utilized to monitor juvenile offenders with a history of sexual-based crimes.
- Functional Family Therapy—This program introduces family oriented therapies to offenders and their families who may be unwilling to engage in treatment
- Minority Youth Transition—Using a variety of cultural and community resources, minority youths are encouraged to establish positive relationships in their community
- Juvenile Crime Prevention Basic Services—County programs that introduce graduated sanctions for youths to prevent recidivism
- Youth Gang Services—Intervention from government agencies is used to transition youths from gangs to more productive lifestyles
How to Become an Oregon Juvenile Probation Officer
In Oregon, most juvenile counselor jobs require a minimum of a high school diploma as well as at least one year of professional experience in
- Behavioral science
- Administration of justice
- Social work
Oregon’s most competitive candidates exploring how to become juvenile probation officers have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to juvenile justice, and because the number of available positions may be limited in number, it is strongly encouraged that serious candidates obtain a graduate degree. Professional experience with juveniles in a counseling, corrections or clinical setting is also advised. This experience may be obtained through internships or volunteer work with Oregon Youth Authority or other agencies.
Candidates should possess the following skills
- Knowledge of criminal law
- Knowledge of juvenile law
- Assessing mental illness
- Case management
- Community resourcing
- Individual and family counseling
- Treatment planning
- Application of state laws, agency rules and regulations
Probation Officer Training in Oregon
New juvenile probation officers must complete basic training at the Oregon Juvenile Justice Training Academy in order to receive certification as a peace officer. If the officer is slated to work within a county agency, additional training from county authorities may also be required.
Following the first year, at least 40 hours of training must be completed annually. There are several online portals to receive this additional training including that provided by the Oregon Learning Center.